In what was a very brief meeting before a judge Tuesday morning, Steven Creighton the administrator originally appointed in 2007 to bring order to the way that Northumberland Court was run has had his appointment extended until July 29th 2009.
This can be read two ways. The first is rather straight forward in that the tenure of the court appointed administrator which was supposed to end June 30th, has now been extended another thirty days so all of us living in and around Northumberland Court get thirty more days of Creighton's rule as opposed to Athwal's rule. Going by how Northumberland has been run in the last five years its hard to tell the difference from one to the other so not much will change on that front.
The other way this situation can be read is that the remedial actions imposed by the city regarding the condition of the suites and Northumberland Court will be fought by Creighton instead of being fought by Athwal, and this matters to a certain degree.
Having Creighton around puts Athwal in a better position in the long run as he now has someone else fighting his battle to avoid doing the remedial repairs. This leaves Athwal in a good position to not do the repairs, and if it is true he has a building permit before the city he can play that it is the administrator that is pushing this battle not himself, and as has been his line for so many years, he's an upstanding business man who is not treated fairly by his tenants or the city.
An extension of the appointment of Creighton also creates an extension on the time he has to get in front of a different judge and get an injunction against the city against performing their demolition order on building 11731. The biggest point here, and an apology for the repeat from the last update, is that this morning there was one court appearance. On July 29th there will be another court appearance for the same issue. The injunction about the building demo will yield at least two court appearances and possible more, so where is the money coming from?
Going to court is not cheap and neither is rehabilitating 16 units of one complex, particularly when some of those units have structural damage, as well problems with asbestos that will require the use of a hazardous materials team to clean it up. This whole mess just keeps getting more and more expensive and speaks to the notion that different levels of government could have, and should have stepped in long before things got to the sorry state they are in.
On that note it is clear that the BC government is still funding Athwal to run his slum housing. Why our tax dollars are going into the pocket of an individual who has admitted on television that this at this complex he is a slumlord one can only wonder. Perhaps instead of wondering though, anyone with the time should take the opportunity to contact our two Maple Ridge MLA's.
Two questions to ask would be:
'Why is the provincial government not respect municipal bylaws and decisions by continually funding Athwal?'
'What mechanism is the provincial government using to track the money they are putting out the door for housing, and what fail safes to they have in place to ensure that money for an individual to use for housing is in fact being used for housing at the location designated, and by the individual designated?'
Micheal Sather can be reached at